Melanoliarus sp. Planthopper

It’s hard to tell scale in macro photography, but this planthopper was relatively huge — almost 1 cm — and was very patient while I got some gorgeous photos. Melanoliarus has about 48 species in North America, and they can only be firmly identified by looking at the genitals of the males, so Melanoliarus sp….

Flat-Faced Longhorn Beetle (Ecyrus dasycerus)

I’ve found a few of these strange little gray beetles in this odd position — with their antennae folded back, their front half braced on the top of the boardwalk railing and their back half dangling off the side — and I wonder if they aren’t just doing their best to pretend to be part…

Globe-Marked Lady Beetle

This little gray lady beetle with black spots is the globe-marked lady beetle, Azya orbigera. It’s found in North and South America, and in Oceania, and…that’s about all we know, which is kind of a shame. The larvae are fluffy little white things that look like mealyworms.

Hamataliwa Grisea

Admission time here: I used to think that jumping spiders were the epitome of cuteness, but that was before I met my first lynx spider. This is Hamataliwa grisea, a tiny (1cm) lynx spider which suffers from a scandalous lack of common name. Bugguide.net contributors have called it a “bark lynx spider” and “not a…

Belfrage’s Plume Moth

Plume moths (family Pterophoridae, which includes several genera) share this striking resting position, where the forewings are extended laterally and tightly closed up. (Open, the forewings have several bedraggled, feathery bristles beneath.) Various Pterophorids are pests of crops like artichokes and of ornamental plants; some are used for biological control of invasive plant species. These…

Grizzled Mantid

Also known as the lichen mimic mantid or Florida bark mantid, Gonatista grisea is very well camouflaged — I would never have noticed this 10mm baby if it had not moved! (When it’s grown, it will only be about 35-40mm long.) Their coloring resembles that of lichen, and they are practically invisible on tree bark….

Flatoidinus punctatus

How do these crazy little bugs (these are true bugs, too) not have a common name? Flatoidinus punctatus is one of (it feels like, having looked for this guy on bug-guide.net for hours) hundreds of very similar, but not identical, hopping insects in the family Flatidae. Hoppers generally have a strong, pointy proboscis hidden under…

Oak Beauty Caterpillar

There is a surprisingly large number of moths in the family Geometridae whose caterpillars “look like a stick”. Beyond that very general description, the caterpillars have huge variation: little pinstripes, big, bold black markings, warts and bumps and protuberances, and generally it is very difficult to pin down just which Geometrid moth caterpillar, or inchworm,…

Striated Lichen Moth

You’d think there’d be pages and pages written on this glorious little orange and black fellow, but no: Wikipedia has three whole sentences on the striated lichen moth (Cisthene striata). They’re about 10mm long, and differentiated from a number of similarly patterned species by the light gray stripes on the forewings. The Peterson Field Guide…

Sri Lankan Weevil

This diminutive Muppet is, unfortunately, an exotic, invasive pest which arrived in Florida around the year 2000 and is quietly eating its way through native, ornamental, vegetable and fruit plants. The adults eat the leaves; the larvae eat the root systems. Alas! Everything cute is terrible and evil. The Sri Lankan weevil (either Myllocerus undecimpustulatus…

Stained Glass Moth

This gorgeous little girl (males have big, unique “tufts” along their abdomens) is a stained-glass moth or assembly moth, Samea ecclesialis. These very common moths are notable for being abundant, flying all year round, and for being of “no reported economic importance” (does that phrase bother anyone else?). They range all over North and South…

Wheel Bug

One of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, this bad boy (or girl) can reach up to 1.5 inches / 38mm in size (although subjectively it seems much bigger in person!). The wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) is an assassin bug, which means that big pointy bit on the front is in fact a…

Leaf-Footed Bug

This is probably an adult female leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala declivis) — this species is named for the exaggerated “femurs” on its back legs, and the femurs are larger in the male, with impressive spikes. She’s about an inch and a half long, not including her antennae. Leaf-footed bugs are named after the “leafy” extensions of…